Cover photo for William James "Bill" Morgans's Obituary
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1944 William 2021

William James "Bill" Morgans

July 29, 1944 — February 5, 2021

William James Morgans
July 29, 1944–February 5, 2021

William James "Bill" Morgans, beloved husband, brother, father, grandfather, teacher, and friend, passed away from complications of atrial fibrillation in the early morning of February 5. He was 76.

Bill was born in Vallejo, California, moving with his parents and two sisters to Visalia, California, as a toddler. He attended Conyer Elementary School, Divisadero Junior High, and Mt. Whitney High School, where he played football and competed on the swim team. He achieved a record in the long-distance butterfly that stood for a number of years.

He attended Fresno State University and joined the Kappa Sigma Fraternity before transferring to UC Berkeley, where he took classes across a range of subjects, including Swedish. He returned to Fresno State, wrote and studied poetry as an English major, served as his fraternity president, and worked in the university library. It was while working at the library that he met Patricia Wright. Bill and Pat married on July 29, 1967, and set out on a life together that took them first to Minneapolis, Minnesota, while Bill served stateside as a corpsman for the U.S. Navy.

Encouraged by his camaraderie with the naval doctors and intrigued by the medical procedures he learned to perform, Bill decided to pursue a medical degree once he was discharged, and he returned again to school, attending Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, majoring in biochemistry. With a clear purpose now in mind, Bill began taking math and science classes that forced him to challenge himself as he never had before. While serving as a teaching assistant, he discovered a passion for helping other students figure out how to learn material they might initially think was too tough for them. He completed his undergraduate degree, secured his teaching credential, and took his first teaching job in San Jose, California.

In 1974, shortly after the birth of the first of their two daughters, Bill and Pat returned to Visalia, where Bill taught chemistry and physics at Redwood High School for the next thirty-two years. At Redwood, Bill had a reputation as an encouraging, accepting, and engaging teacher with an easy-going and humorous teaching style. He saw the potential in every student—compassion informed by his own circuitous path through college—and sought to make each of them believe they had something to offer the world.

At home, he and Pat were just as supportive to their two daughters. Bill was a protective and loving father while also encouraging his girls' independence and pursuit of their own paths in life. When it came time to retire, Bill and Pat moved to Bainbridge Island, Washington, in 2007, to be near their elder daughter, Sarah Morgans. Their younger daughter, Amy Morgans, relocated with her then-husband a couple of years later, and the entire family had many relaxing years together in the Pacific Northwest, sharing meals, traveling, and keeping up with each other's daily lives. Among the highlights of his retirement were a stint as owner of two Ranger Tugs; travels to Alaska, the Oregon Coast, Yellowstone, and Victoria, British Columbia, for a surprise 50th wedding anniversary family celebration; and the adoption of his grandchild, Vanessa, who joined the family as a six-year-old and christened him "Papa."

In addition to Pat, Sarah, Amy, and Vanessa, Bill is survived by his sister, Barbara (Jim) Young; two nieces, Cindy Elkins and Julie Cabral; and five nephews, Michael (Linda) Cabral, Greg Feaver, James (Sara) Young, Mike (Katie) Young, and Rob (Darcie) Young. He was preceded in death by his parents, Robert D. Morgans and Virginia "Peggy" Allison Morgans; by his sister, Patricia "Patty" (Claude) Feaver; and by his sister-in-law, Sondra (Larry) Cabral. Due to restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bill will be laid to rest in a private interment at Hillcrest Cemetery on Bainbridge Island. Arrangements are entrusted to the Cook Family Funeral Home of Bainbridge Island.

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